Two people in two days greet me with the phrase “Oh but you’ve gained weight! What happened?” ouch. Since January of 2016 I’ve suffered menopausal girth increase. The same five pounds has come off and on over twelve times this year. Getting below five, though, has eluded me. I’m starting to feel powerless in my pursuit.
As far as, “Why don’t you just. . .?” I take up biking to burn more calories. Read my piece entitled “Me and the Bike” if you don’t believe me. I hike. I run (in a lumbering awkward way). I visit a gym. Hire a trainer. Keep a food diary. Cut out the sugary drinks. No soda, not even diet. No latte, no frappe, no American chai tea. In 2016 I make my coffee shop drink cafe au lait. I eat less exercise more. Yup, I get that covered – and clearly that is not enough. I blog extensively on the mental component of weight gain, because the physical aspects do not correlate to my personal experience. Until perhaps now, with the undeniable hormone shifts.
Mentally? For various reasons that have been overly discussed I feel rejected, dejected. I blog on the loss my marriage, often. My recovering addict friends assure me it’s nothing personal when a person choses death over life, but it is hard for it not to feel personal when I am a person. When I hear people in 12-step meetings go on so about being alone, lonely, unsupported, unaccepted, isolated – it is hard not to feel it is personal as in what did I do wrong to make you feel so lousy death is preferable? When I say “I miss being married.” I’ve been told that’s just my ego. I don’t know how anyone gets married without an ego – a marriage without a soul was not my intent.
As far as loving myself – that’s nice and all, but not the same thing as partnership. Call me co-dependent from your safe throne of coupledom – but I did like being married. I miss the whole of it. I miss the public declaration of status. The legally binding protection.People who say “Marriage is just a piece of paper,” have never been pushed to the back at a funeral. I miss feeling secure in someone else’s esteem. Something that is never quite there in either role of parent child relationships.
In my late teens I discover the Church of Religious Science. Their doctrine teaches I create my own reality. Sure, when I’m happy people are cooperative, amiable, indulgent. When I’m angry they are intractable. When I’m in a good mood finding help is simple. When I’m in a bad mood there’s no one around to assist. Taken to logical limits I am god of my known universe. I set about trying to right things with my family of birth. They really ought to be able to see past my physical appearance. I imagine, innocently enough, the birth family will stop judging me by the wrong measuring stick and see me for who I really am. After all, I’m not a bad sort even though I didn’t take the conventional route. There are more aspects to me than my weight.
In the years I am thin, wealthy and successful in a fit of pique, I avoid my family. Yup, they miss all that. Why? Because I suppose, if they like me only because I am thin, that equals “not” liking me. I know, yeah? Kind of naive. To be fair, they miss decades and decades of me. Even after digital photos are quick and easy to send, my dad, bless his heart, who doesn’t know how to turn on a computer, has no idea what I look like. He has an image of me, at 14 and silly. A passionate young person with ideas not rooted in the visible world. And I? I am powerless over what he thinks of me. Yet powerful, under my own steam able to exit the power play, live out my life in a distant place. Able to control the amount of access people have into my interior. Yes, understanding that first step of the twelve is key. Because until or unless I do realize I have power I am buffeted about. After I realize my power, I anchor.
For addicts whose substance is alcohol or drugs – I tell you the power is internal. Nothing outside of myself grants me power. I pinpoint my triggers. Guns may be everywhere but shooting them is a choice under my control. No addict, in this case, has temptation harder than the food addict – because if I stop eating I’ll die. Luckily, I am not a binge eater. My problem is common, but subtle. I eat under stress, when I’m lonely or bored or anxious. Then vicious cycle ensues. Having people greet me with, “My you’ve gained weight” is stressful to a yoga teacher. Makes me want to self-soothe. The internet advice on page after page is not helpful. Understand you’re eating emotionally. Be mindful of your feelings. Yes, yes, yes I know I am worried about the business, my clientele, my abilities – but if I can’t do a f n thing about that right now – what to do?
Be leery of the advice to “call a friend.” That works if your substance is alcohol. With eating? Not so much. I tend to get a lot of “why don’t you just . . .?” statements that increase anxiety. It is tiresome to repeat all the steps I have taken to assuage my menopausal symptoms. I understand intellectually that my hormones are changing. I have my own reasons for eschewing hormone therapy. Playing with a dog, when I had one, worked well. I was thin the whole time I had dog companions – but I travel and work too much to have one right now. At the risk of scaring the be-jeezuz out of you I suggest accepting the weight gain. There’s nothing like it to see who your real friends are. The answers are immediate and true. People who like me because of how I look – they like how I look, they don’t like me. They don’t even know me. They may take their yoga classes from a younger, prettier teacher – but that’s just spectator sport.
I teach well at any weight.
I was fat for the last half of my first marriage. At the end when I announce my strategy of accepting myself my husband goes berserk. He steps up his scorn and bullying comments. Accept yourself ? Unacceptable! You’ll never lose weight that way Kumari. I know I am gaining weight as a form of barrier protection. I mean weight works so perfectly. The minute I move out ten pounds fall off with absolutely no changes to my diet or caloric intake or exercise regime. Problem solved. Acceptance apparently is key. Without it, I would have never left.
In the years since I start this blog I have met on occasion people who misunderstand the purpose of it. In a grand romantic version of “why don’t you just . . ?” they offer themselves up as substitutes for my lost life, my last marriage, my old home. They offer up new life, new love, new home. Bless their hearts they feel they’ve really gotten to know me from my work – but as for me? Falling in love with a total stranger is beyond my ability. I’m just funny that way.
Perhaps the fat is a barrier against all that – you be the judge.
Now y’all play nice!